LHC grants Shehbaz Sharif pre-arrest bail in assets beyond means caseArchive
A Lahore High Court division bench on Wednesday granted pre-arrest bail to Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif till June 17 a day after a team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) raided his Model Town residence to arrest him in cases related to money laundering and assets beyond known sources of income.
Sharif's legal team had filed the pre-arrest bail petition on June 1, a day before he was required to appear before a combined investigation team of the NAB. However, the bail petition could not be fixed for hearing before the bench yesterday.
Yesterday, for a third time, Shehbaz had refused to appear before NAB, citing health concerns. In a statement submitted to the bureau, he said:
"It has been widely reported in the media that some NAB officials have tested positive for Covid-19.
"Please appreciate [that] I am a cancer survivor and and 69 years old. I have been advised limited exposure on account of the peculiar background of low immunity," he said.
He added that he was available to answer any queries by the investigation team via Skype.
After he did not appear for the NAB hearing, a team of officials from the watchdog and police raided the PML-N president's residence in Lahore's Model Town to arrest him but left on learning that he was not present there.
If Sharif had been arrested by the NAB before the LHC hearing on his pre-arrest bail, Sharif's petition would have become infructuous.
Earlier on Wednesday, vice-chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Abid Saqi and Lahore High Court Bar Association Secretary Haroon Dogal submitted a petition requesting the Lahore High Court to grant Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif permission to reach the court.
The petition stated that police have "set up obstacles" on the way to the court to prevent [Shehbaz from reaching it].
Shehbaz Sharif submitted a petition for pre-arrest bail in the LHC two days ago and reaching the court [for it] is his legal right, the petitioners said.
A similar petition was also filed by Azam Nazeer Tarar, a member of the PBC.
PML-N leaders including Rana Sanaullah, Marriyum Aurangzeb and former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi reached the court premises ahead of the hearing. Party spokeswoman Marriyum Aurangzeb, speaking to reporters outside the LHC, said that an "anti-people and thieving government" had been imposed upon the people.
"The person who shut the country from atop a container has frozen the entire country," she added.
Rana Sanaullah said that Shehbaz was a "patriotic citizen and wants to get bail which is his legal right".
He said that the deploying of heavy contingent of police outside the high court premises was a "complete violation of the law".